Tag Archives: report

mom

Report: Arizona is failing new parents

A new state-by-state analysis shows how little the nation supports and protects working mothers and fathers when a new child arrives – and Arizona is among the states with the worst records. The study, Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents, is the most comprehensive analysis to date of state laws and regulations governing paid leave and workplace rights for new parents in the United States. Arizona earned a grade of “F,” joining 16 other states that do not provide any support or job protection to new parents beyond what federal law provides.

The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The full report, which grades all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the enactment of select laws that expand upon federal leave and workplace protections, can be found here.

“New mothers and fathers should not have to experience financial hardship at what should be one of the happiest times of their lives,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “Yet tens of millions of expecting and new parents struggle because our nation fails to provide paid leave and other basic workplace protections. As the president, lawmakers, businesses, workers and advocates gather in the nation’s capital next week to discuss these issues, this study shows how much work lies ahead. America’s families expect and deserve much better. We need national family friendly workplace standards now.”

Public support for family friendly policies like paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and pregnancy accommodations is strong. A growing body of evidence shows that they promote the health and economic security of families and strengthen businesses and the economy. Yet Expecting Better finds that no state is doing enough to provide these basic workplace supports. California is far ahead, earning a grade of “A-.” On the other end of the spectrum, 17 states received grades of “F.” Most states fall somewhere in between; they are doing something to expand upon minimal federal protections, but not enough.

“This report shows that progress toward a family friendly America is possible, and history demonstrates that state activity can pave the way while providing needed support to working families,” explained Ness. “But the ability of working people in this country, including new and expecting parents, to manage their responsibilities at home and on the job should not depend on where they live. Lawmakers at all levels should take a close look at this study and the evidence that shows the benefits of providing leave and other workplace protections, and then move quickly to establish the standards people urgently need and deserve.”

At the national level, attention to and support for policies that support new and expecting parents has increased in recent years. Hundreds of organizations including the National Partnership are calling on Congress to pass legislation that would establish federal-level protections, including: the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program; the Healthy Families Act, which would set a national paid sick days standard; and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would help to combat pregnancy discrimination.

President Obama recently called for family friendly workplace policies, including in his State of the Union address this year. For the fifth year in a row, his budget includes a state paid leave fund that would help support states that want to create their own paid leave programs. Only California, New Jersey and Rhode Island currently have paid leave insurance programs. And on Monday, the White House will host a Summit on Working Families in Washington, D.C., to showcase policies that would help working parents and families while bringing the country’s public policies in line with the rest of the world. Members of Congress are also increasingly discussing the challenges working families face.

The United States is one of few countries that do not guarantee working people access to paid leave. Paid leave for new mothers is guaranteed in 181 other nations, and 81 nations guarantee paid leave for new fathers. The United States guarantees neither and has just three national laws – addressing pregnancy discrimination, unpaid family and medical leave, and nursing mother’s rights at work – that help some new and expecting parents. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides new parents up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but just under 60 percent of the workforce is eligible for its protections and many cannot afford to take the unpaid leave it provides.

housing.prices

Big Increases Unlikely for Phoenix Housing Market

The Phoenix-area housing market has officially rebounded from artificially low recession levels, and we’re unlikely to see any more big price increases this year. That’s according to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Here are the latest details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of April:

* The median single-family-home sales price stabilized at just under $205,000.
* Demand and sales activity were low for the normally strong spring selling season.
* Rental homes continue to be extremely popular, since many people are ineligible for home loans and/or uninterested in home ownership.

Phoenix-area home prices rose fast from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and then even dropping a little bit earlier this year. This April, for the second month in a row, the median single-family-home price was just under $205,000. That’s up 13 percent – from $181,399 last April to $204,900 this April. Realtors will note the average price per square foot was up 12 percent. The median townhouse/condo price went up 4 percent.

Low demand is largely putting the brakes on more significant upward price movement. The amount of single-family-home sales activity was down 16 percent this April from last April. Sales of homes in the range below $150,000 alone fell 37 percent. New-home sales went down 12 percent. All of this, even though the period from March to May is almost always the strongest part of the year for demand.

“The market has completed its rebound from the artificially low prices that prevailed between 2009 and 2011, and further significant increases are unlikely without some growth in demand,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “It’s also likely that the recent advance in pricing will fade during the summer months, when the luxury, snowbird and active-adult markets go relatively quiet.”

Investors continue to show disinterest in the Phoenix housing market now that better bargains can be found in other areas of the country with more foreclosures. The percentage of residential properties purchased by investors was down to just 16.3 percent in April from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. Completed foreclosures on single-family homes and condos were down 54 percent from April 2013 to April 2014.

In contrast, the supply of homes available for sale is way up, with 73 percent more active listings on May 1 of this year than May 1 of last year. As a result, buyers have far more choices. However, Orr believes that may change, if demand and prices don’t pick up. Potential home sellers may stay out of the market, deciding to wait for better times.

“The underlying key problem for entry-level and mid-range housing demand is a lack of household formation due to many factors, including unemployment, falling birth rates, lower net migration and greater home-sharing, especially among millennials,” explains Orr. “However, if household creation were to return to the normal long-term average, we would quickly have a housing shortage here in Greater Phoenix.”

Meantime, the demand for rental homes is very high, and Orr says the availability of those homes is dropping to unusually low levels. He estimates there’s only a 29-day supply of single-family rentals, and therefore, rent is starting to rise in the most popular locations. As a result of this demand, the Phoenix area is seeing a strong upward trend in multi-family construction permits.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

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Vacancy ticks higher as tenant demand patterns shift

Colliers has release its 2014 Medical Office Report for the first quarter. Highlights include:

  • Economic and employment growth slowed in the first quarter and these demand drivers spilled over into the medical office market. Despite the recent slowdown, there are indications that growth should accelerate in the coming quarters, supporting future space demand.
  • Vacancy in the Greater Phoenix medical office market ticked up to 20.4 percent in the first quarter, compared to 19.5 percent at year-end 2013. Negative net absorption of 142,000 square feet was recorded in off-campus buildings, with the Scottsdale submarkets accounting for nearly 85,000 square feet of this total.
  • Vacancy in on-campus medical office buildings was 13.1 percent in the first quarter, slightly higher than the five-year average of 12.4 percent.
  • Sales activity in both traditional medical office buildings and medical office condos has slowed in recent quarters, due in part to a drop-off in distressed properties changing hands. With fewer REO properties selling, prices have ticked higher in both condo and non-condo sales.

Click here to download the full report [.PDF].

Williams named 2014 BTI Client Service All-Star

A shareholder at the international law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP’s Phoenix office has been recognized for his commitment to client service in the BTI Client Service All-Stars 2014 report.

Greenberg Traurig Phoenix shareholder Quinn Williams has represented public and private corporations, entrepreneurs and investment funds for more than 20 years.

“Greenberg Traurig is proud of Quinn’s well-deserved recognition as a ‘client all-star,’” said Phoenix Co-Managing Shareholder John Cummerford. “His commitment to delivering the highest level of client service has been recognized and appreciated by many throughout his outstanding legal career.”

In addition to Williams, Greenberg Traurig shareholders Ernest LaMont Greer and Donald Stein are also listed as BTI Client Service All-Stars:

· Greer is a Vice President of the firm and Co-Managing Shareholder of the Atlanta office. His practice consists of the representation of clients in various complex litigation matters.
· Stein, a Washington D.C. Shareholder, represents clients involved in federal regulatory issues, specifically U.S. Customs law and trade policy.

“Quality legal counsel and client service is at the core of who we are as a firm. We congratulate Ernest, Don and Quinn on their inclusion in BTI’s elite group of Service All-Stars,” said Richard A. Rosenbaum, Greenberg Traurig’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are honored to have Greenberg Traurig attorneys recognized for their diligence in embracing and recognizing client needs and achieving their goals as trusted partners and advisors.”

According to BTI, attorneys cannot lobby to be added to the list, self-submit nominations or provide corporate counsel names to be interviewed. The only way to become a BTI Client Service All-Star is for corporate counsel to single out an attorney for a client service performance exceeding all others. BTI conducted more than 300 individual interviews with corporate counsel at Fortune 1000 and large organizations to complete this report. The report lists 330 attorneys from 187 firms.

6811 E Mayo ELC Export030

Phoenix Office Market Posts 2MSF Net Absorption in 2013

Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona reported the following analysis of the Phoenix office market in 2013.

Phoenix Industrial Market Statistics

Click for enlarged view of Phoenix office market statistics.

The Metro Phoenix office market posted net absorption of 1,955,355 SF in 2013, compared to net absorption totaling 2,217,348 SF in 2012. The best-performing office submarkets were the Scottsdale Airpark with 461,616 SF, the Camelback Corridor with 389,394 SF, and Tempe with 385,306 SF of positive net absorption.

Those three submarkets collectively posted 1.236 MSF of positive net absorption, which translated to 63 percent of the entire Metro Phoenix market activity for 2013. Top of market rental rates in each of these submarkets exceeded $30 per SF.

“Two consecutive years of solid net absorption have helped decrease the overall vacancy rate in the Phoenix office market,” said Jerry Noble of Cushman & Wakefield’s Office Properties Group. “We continue to see improved activity on the street, and there are several large office requirements in the market. Tech and insurance companies have been significant drivers of demand. We expect 2014 to be another good year.”

Notable Metro Phoenix office sales included 111 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, $41.765M; 4343 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, $68.6M; and 6811 E. Mayo Blvd., Scottsdale, $38.6M. Notable Metro Phoenix office leases included 15111 N. Pima Road., Scottsdale, 148,732 SF; 16260 N. 71st Street, Scottsdale, 121,123 SF; and 60 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, 85,000 SF.

The Metro Phoenix office market vacancy rate decreased as well in 2013. The direct vacancy rate fell from 23.0 percent at year-end 2012 to 20.8 percent at the end of 2013.

The lowest direct vacancy rates in 2013 were posted in North Tempe and South Scottsdale at 6.9 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively.

The direct average asking rental rate for office space in Metro Phoenix increased year-over-year from $20.25 per SF in 2012 to $20.60 per SF in 2013.

Looking ahead to 2014, the most active construction will continue in the Tempe submarket as Marina Heights (the State Farm Insurance campus) and Hayden Ferry Lakeside III come out of the ground.

“Scottsdale, Tempe, and Camelback are rapidly improving,” said Noble, who added that properties along the Loop 101 are some of the more sought after in the Valley. “The real story line for 2014 is already underway.  With very little new construction underway, tenants seeking efficient large blocks of space in these areas have limited options available. This will drive rents, help support new construction, and also drive activity to other submarkets. Rents in these pockets have already increased and will continue to do so.  It has been over 10 years since tenants have been forced to look for space more than a year in advance of their target occupancy dates due to limited supply.”

 

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Rich got richer during recovery, report shows

A new report says the richest Americans got richer during the first two years of the economic recovery while average net worth declined for the other 93 percent of the nation’s households.

The Pew Research Center report says wealth held by the richest 7 percent of households rose 28 percent from 2009 to 2011, while the net worth of the other 93 percent of households dropped by 4 percent.

It says the main reason for the widening gap is that affluent households have stocks and other financial holdings that increased in value, while the less wealthy have more of their assets in their homes, which haven’t fully regained their value since the housing downturn.

Western Water

Colorado River viewed as vanishing resource

The federal government isn’t going to tap the Missouri River to slake the thirst of a drought-parched Southwest, the government’s top water official said Wednesday.

But rising demand and falling supply have water managers in the arid West considering a host of other options to deal with dire projections that the Colorado River — the main water supply for a region larger than the country of France — won’t be able over the next 50 years to meet demands of a regional population now about 40 million and growing.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued what he termed “a call to action” with a three-year study of the river, its flows and its ability to meet the future needs of city-dwellers, Native Americans, businesses, ranchers and farmers in seven Western states.

“We are in a troubling trajectory in the Colorado River basin, as well as the Rio Grande basin,” Salazar told reporters on a conference call outlining the math in the findings of the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study.

Salazar, who oversees water managers and dam operators at the federal Bureau of Reclamation, dismissed as politically and technically impractical some ideas in the study, including piping water from the nation’s heartland or towing Arctic icebergs south to help such thirsty U.S. cities as Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

He said he wanted to focus instead on “solutions that are out there that will help us.”

“There is no one solution that is going to meet the needs of this challenge,” Salazar said. “We need to reduce our demand through conservation. We also need to augment supply with practical measures.”

Salazar and Bureau of Reclamation officials warned that the Colorado River’s historical 15 million acre-feet per year flow has been reduced by 12 years of drought to about 12 million acre-feet. Officials say an acre-foot can meet the water needs of up two families per year.

Water interests and the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming together lay claim to all the water in the river and then some.

Mexico also has a stake in the river, and officials last month set new rules to share Colorado River water south of the border and let Mexico store water in Lake Mead near Las Vegas.

The study projects that by 2060 the river flow could fall 3.2 million to 8 million acre-feet short of regional needs.

A “very believable estimate” using climate change scenarios projects the river flow increasing to just 13.7 million acre-feet per year by 2060, said Kay Brothers, a former Southern Nevada Water Authority executive in Las Vegas who co-managed the study.

“We’re going to have problems in the future meeting the demands of the Colorado River basin,” Brothers said. “We have to begin now starting to put measures in place to meet the imbalance and prepare for a drier future.”

Even before the report was released, some advocates criticized it as a “fundamentally flawed,” and based on inflated projections of the amount of water in the river and the number of people in the region.

“States cooked the books to show higher demand for water consumption to set up a federal bailout on expensive water projects,” said Molly Mugglestone, director of the advocacy group Protect the Flows.

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Obesity Rate in Arizona Could Reach 58.8% by 2030, Study Reveals

The number of obese adults, along with related disease rates and health care costs, is on course to increase dramatically in Arizona over the next 20 years, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2012, a report released today by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

For the first time, the annual report includes an analysis that forecasts 2030 adult obesity rates in each state and the likely resulting rise in obesity-related disease rates and health care costs. By contrast, the analysis also shows that states could prevent obesity-related diseases and dramatically reduce health care costs if they reduced the average body mass index of their residents by just 5 percent by 2030. (For a six-foot-tall person weighing 200 pounds, a 5 percent reduction in BMI would be the equivalent of losing roughly 10 pounds.)

“This study shows us two futures for America’s health,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, RWJF president and CEO. “At every level of government, we must pursue policies that preserve health, prevent disease and reduce health care costs. Nothing less is acceptable.”

The analysis, which was commissioned by TFAH and RWJF and conducted by the National Heart Forum, is based on a peer-reviewed model published last year in The Lancet. Findings include:
Projected Increases in Obesity Rates

If obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, by 2030, the obesity rate in Arizona could reach 58.8 percent. According to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011, 24.7 percent of adults in the state were obese.

Nationally, by 2030, 13 states could have adult obesity rates above 60 percent, 39 states could have rates above 50 percent, and all 50 states could have rates above 44 percent. Mississippi could have the highest obesity rate at 66.7 percent, and Colorado could have the lowest obesity rate for any state at 44.8 percent.
Projected Increases in Disease Rates

Over the next 20 years, obesity could contribute to 728,569 new cases of type 2 diabetes, 1,517,230 new cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, 1,449,229 new cases of hypertension, 968,616 new cases of arthritis, and 217,683 new cases of obesity-related cancer in Arizona.

Currently, more than 25 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, 27 million have chronic heart disease, 68 million have hypertension and 50 million have arthritis. In addition, 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, and approximately one in three deaths from cancer per year (approximately 190,650) are related to obesity, poor nutrition or physical inactivity.
Projected Increase in Health Care Costs

By 2030, obesity-related health care costs in Arizona could climb by 11.1 percent, which could be the 11th lowest increase in the country. Nationally, nine states could see increases of more than 20 percent, with New Jersey on course to see the biggest increase at 34.5 percent. Sixteen states and Washington, D.C., could see increases between 15 percent and 20 percent.

In the United States, medical costs associated with treating preventable obesity-related diseases are estimated to increase by $48 billion to $66 billion per year by 2030, and the loss in economic productivity could be between $390 billion and $580 billion annually by 2030. Although the medical cost of adult obesity in the United States is difficult to calculate, current estimates range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year.
How Reducing Obesity Could Lower Disease Rates and Health Care Costs

If BMIs were lowered by 5 percent, Arizona could save 7.5 percent in health care costs, which would equate to savings of $ 13,642,000,000 by 2030.

The number of Arizona residents who could be spared from developing new cases of major obesity-related diseases includes:

154,737 people could be spared from type 2 diabetes,
114,546 from coronary heart disease and stroke,
112,018 from hypertension,
68,326 from arthritis, and
9,983 from obesity-related cancer.

“We know a lot more about how to prevent obesity than we did 10 years ago,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH. “This report also outlines how policies like increasing physical activity time in schools and making fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable can help make healthier choices easier. Small changes can add up to a big difference. Policy changes can help make healthier choices easier for Americans in their daily lives.”
Report Recommendations

On the basis of the data collected and a comprehensive analysis, TFAH and RWJF recommend making investments in obesity prevention in a way that matches the severity of the health and financial toll the epidemic takes on the nation. The report includes a series of policy recommendations, including:

* Fully implement the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, by implementing the school meal standards and updating nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages in schools;
* Protect the Prevention and Public Health Fund;
* Increase investments in effective, evidence-based obesity-prevention programs;
* Fully implement the National Prevention Strategy and Action Plan;
* Make physical education and physical activity a priority in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act;
* Finalize the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children Guidelines;
* Fully support healthy nutrition in federal food programs; and
* Encourage full use of preventive health care services and provide support beyond the doctor’s office.

The full report with state rankings in all categories is available on TFAH’s website at www.healthyamericans.org and RWJF’s website at www.rwjf.org. TFAH and RWJF collaborated on the report, which was supported by a grant from RWJF.